LOS ANGELES – There's nothing wrong with Harvey, that a few furious fastballs, six or seven spin-free innings, failed to fix a month of sensible launches.
Maybe a little rest too.
Above all, however, the sensible begins.
He drove north from Newport Beach on Thursday afternoon. There he spent five days at Boras Sports Training Institute upgrading his arm and psyche and finishing school. If the events of recent weeks had shaken him-the demotion of the New York Mets start-turn, the 7 ERA, the minor-league task that had spurned trade with the Cincinnati Reds on Thursday-Harvey seemed clear and committed to everything that could bring tomorrow.
Tomorrow, by the way, he would be the starting pitcher at Dodger Stadium. (19659006) Of course, New York can be a blessing and a curse, depending on which end of the cattle sting you are standing. Harvey had spent a fair amount of time as a Prodder and Prod-ee, six years ending in a gray red street uniform at the bottom of the National League Central, mingling with one of baseball's worst rotations. Some might say he deserves it. Others would mourn the best days of Gotham's Dark Knight, whether dead or hibernating.
Harvey himself would say that he would like to go on with everything, after a last look back.
"There is a lot of good," he said. "Good memories, there are many bad memories, after today I do not want to talk about my past experiences with the Mets, so I would like to continue with my new organization and do everything I can to help them, all in all, there have been many good times. I have a lot of good friends on this team and I will do it for a long time, obviously I have not been able to play the way I wanted and as I expected, so you know, new beginning, I guess you could say it's a nice thing, I'm looking forward to my opportunity. "
What brought him here, all that was going on in New York, the good, the bad, the drama (self-inflicted and not), the champagne festivals, the narcosis, the show shuffle off, that would wait. Until Scott Boras thought about it.
"With that," Boras said, "a very distinctive asterisk came about the different treatment of players by different organizations and by different physicians, and how that is handled."
He meant two young, elitist right-handers, both with torn elbow ribbons, both of which operated on and had to recover. One, Harvey, returned and, after much discussion of innings and stress and accountability, charged in October, setting up 26 26 innings. He's been 9-19 with a 5.93 ERA and a thorax operation. The other, Stephen Strasburg, has knownly withdrawn (by order of the doctor) an October, and has been 82-44 with an ERA of 3.14. Both are Boras clients.
"What I say," said Boras, "is that Matt attracted attention, there was room for discussion and opinions."
He was heroic at the time, possibly sacrificing his body and future for a magical run the World Series. Two and a half years later, mostly lousy, he was sitting on the bench of someone else in the uniform of another man, wrestling for free agency as another's problem. Or, there is the possibility that October had nothing to do with living on the barrels of other people or the thoracic problems and that it is time to grow up and either be a big pitcher again or not.
"I've had many people say that's the best," Harvey said as he left New York. "But I think pitching is important, obviously I had a lot of success in New York and I did not have much success, no matter where you are, you still play and still play and it's still Major League Baseball, you always have to Half of the games are on the road anyway, so it does not matter if you're in New York or here in LA or wherever you are, you have a job to do, and that means going out and bringing people out. Unfortunately, I could not do that with the Mets, but I was thrilled with my chance and let that happen with the Reds. "
So there would be no pissed-off Harvey for the remnants left. There would be no Harvey firing at Harvey with grenades. It would only be this one 29 year old man standing between his past and his future, who would fall from one to the other. It's that simple. It has to be.
"There have been a lot of hard times in the last few weeks," he said. "In fact, the last couple of years with the unsuccessful injuries have gone through so much adversity in that sense, it's created a lot of mental strength, it's easy to just give up and not go out there and work on your craft I sometimes had some pretty negative thoughts on my career where I think I have to fight through and throw the ball like I did in the cops and between the rides, it's in there, it just has to Relax and let it happen. "
An angry fastball. A game. Then another. Get away from there.
And a little rest.
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